Saturday, March 19, 2011

"Divine" Intervention - Buster Update

My daughter’s dad is extremely passive-aggressive. Getting him to participate in anything is difficult, frustrating, and often futile. I figured out long ago to pick my battles. Knowing I would be doing all of the heavy lifting, and really wanting to minimize the drama and aggravation, I issued a proclamation when we split up: I wouldn’t take him to court unless he made me do it. And I’ve pretty much not asked him to do anything I had no hope of him ever doing. My idea of being a parent and his are so vastly different, that I don’t even think of him that way. He’s been more of a place-holder than anything. Someone M can point to and say “that’s who my dad is.” Instead of not knowing. Which I decided was better. Doesn’t mean it’s been easier.

As is his pattern, at first things went along relatively smoothly. I moved the baby and myself to California (with his full cooperation and blessing), and he stayed behind in Colorado. This was 2005. We stayed in contact and he kept up his side of our arrangement. Then, once he was faced with real decisions, he fell apart. I had found a good job in the fall of 2005, had found a good daycare for M, and was working toward putting my life back together. He wasn’t doing so well. For all of 2006 there was no contact, no financial contribution, and no sign that things were going to improve. At the end of 2006, I decided that time was up, and I opened a case in California to enforce Child Support.

The first time (early 2005) he’d been confronted with the reality of Child Support, he declared “If I pay that, I won’t be able to live INDOORS!” in his usual dramatic fashion. It was clear that it never crossed his mind how much my part amounted to. I guess he thinks that I will always “just manage”, in my own magical way. So in 2006, when California sent him the paperwork, he declared “extreme poverty” and was given a final monthly payment amount that was ludicrous. Had I been in a position to really depend on his financial contribution, we’d have been in big trouble. As it was, I put it in a savings account and used it when I moved back to Colorado.

Since 2006, he’s been pretty quiet about his activities and circumstances. He told me that he was trying to become a teacher, but that the program directors in Colorado had told him he wasn’t suited to teaching. As per usual, he decided they didn’t know what they were talking about. I know that at some point, he moved back in with his (very well off) parents in Massachusetts. More often than not, he’s been unemployed. I heard he’d entered another teaching program in MA. Most of what I know about him, I figure out from a combination of little hints he drops after the fact, stuff other people tell me, and my own research. A while back, I proposed a regular webcam call between him and M, and he’s participated in that on a regular basis. His first visit after our split was in September 2008. The second one was February 2010. The third was this past December.

Just prior to the last visit, he told me he’d moved to Colorado. Prior to that, he told me he was moving to Florida, but the Florida thing didn’t pan out. He ended up in a bitty little place not far from Durango, on a Native American reservation, teaching at the high school, which is over six hours away from here. Still, I had no address, no local phone #, and no real information about what he was doing or where he was living. I had left the Child Support Case open in California, because in order to move it back to Colorado I would need his data. I didn’t know when I’d be able to move the case, but they knew I’d moved back and wanted to move the case as soon as I was able. Then, the state of California implemented a new bill.

He was notified that he was going to have to put M on his health insurance. She’s always been on mine, and he hasn’t had a job, so this particular wrinkle was new for him. Apparently the state of California believes that Non-Custodial Parents should be more involved in their children’s insurance needs. And to that end, are making it mandatory that the NCPs provide coverage. The bill to him for this? $500 a month, nearly double what he pays for Child Support.

Funny how quickly he contacted me to get me involved.

I agree that it makes no sense for him to put M on his insurance, regardless of the cost. The money they were going to take out of his shiny new paycheck was simply a waste. But in order to correct this situation, I’d have to file new paperwork in Colorado, and he had no other choice. He had to give me his details.

Being that we are starting year five of this Child Support arrangement, I asked for a review of the order. Now that he’s actually working, I doubt he still qualifies for his special poverty discount. Dozens of pages of forms were filled out and properly filed, and then there was nothing to do but wait and see.

Monday afternoon, when I’d finished with the inspection of the new property and checked the mail, there was a fat envelope waiting for me from Colorado Child Support. They’d finished their review and agreed an increase was appropriate. I just had to sign the papers and get them notarized and returned to them. Of course, Buster has the option to agree or fight it, but I am hoping that the past couple months of having his check garnished will have persuaded him to agree that the new amount is better than what California was demanding, and just sign it already. A girl can hope.

What can I say? The extra money would be nice. The new amount would almost cover M’s before- & after-school care expenses. I know better than to be expectant, but I do get a little chuckle out of the circumstances. I know that had he not been “over a barrel” he would have never willingly forked over his financial information, let alone his mailing address. Since he’s always known mine, it seems fair. In real life, nothing is fair, but every once in a while, the universe throws me a bone.


  1. Wow. I can't believe that he hasn't even told you where he lives after all this time. You guys have a child together! What a joke he is!

    So glad you'll be getting some more financial support. I know it doesn't make up for the fact that you have to do everything for M, but still... extra money can't hurt!

  2. What a douche! He doesn't know the first thing about being a parent. Can't you just have him sent to a hard labor camp or something?

  3. Oh also, now that you have his address, make sure that the Jehovah Witnesses know where he is living. Also make sure they know how very much he needs frequent visits.

  4. It's nice how things actually work out, sometimes.

    Maybe he could use a trial prescription for ExtenZe, too.

  5. Bev: It’s a sad commentary on what happens to a person who is so completely self-involved. He’s missed out on so much, and he’ll never get the time with M back. The money, thank god, I can manage without. But it WILL be nice... if it comes through.

    Mala: Ha! He thinks LIFE is a hard labor camp. Imagine what a wake up call THAT would be! And it would be fun to harass him, but I’ve got my hands full.

    Frank: Yes, it is. And, High Road, baby... High Road.

    Mary: Yep. Me too. But I love YOU! :)

  6. Yep. When Woodless moved he didn't tell me about it until after the fact, and only gave me his address b/c he's required to. I'm 99% sure he's not working at the same job, but when I asked about it he told me it's not my business. Such an adult.

    Good news for you! I'm due to have mine reevaluated as well, but am waiting a bit on it. Extra money is always nice a thing! :)Take yourself and M to dinner.

  7. Smama: It's amazing to witness their attitude, isn't it? Such pomposity.

    Great idea! We love going out to dinner ;)

  8. What a fine specimen! I sure hope he has to pony up with the cash. There is absolutely no excuse for not supporting a child you helped bring into the world. Although I admire you tremendously, Joan, for doing it on your own, I know you could really use the extra money.

    Mala, we are so much alike at times it scares me. I immediately thought of the JW's as well as the Kirby Vacuum guys.

  9. Wow, what a jackass! Of course, you knew that all along LOL Good for you for making sure he contributes at least financially. Maybe he could use a nice Adam and Eve catalog?;)